Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Selina Peake DeJong

Selina Peake DeJong, a female schoolteacher turned truck farmer outside Chicago. To support herself after her gambler father is murdered, nineteen-year-old Selina accepts a teaching job in the Dutch community of High Prairie. Her exclamation that the fields of cabbages are beautiful elicits guffaws from the pragmatic, work-worn Dutch, but her ability to seek and find beauty in the most unlikely of circumstances pervades her entire life, bringing zest and adventure to her and success to the dilapidated farm she inherits from her husband. Becoming physically scarred by the backbreaking farm work does not eradicate Selina’s fun-loving spirit, indomitable courage, and shrewd ability to judge character and values. Even as an old woman, her son Dirk’s secretary claims, she has an air about her that is better than style. Although she loves Dirk above all else, she considers herself a failure because he has compromised his desire to become an architect for more immediate financial success as a banker. She is not despondent over the partial blame she accepts for her son’s choices. She receives joy from life on the farm itself and from the work of a former student, Roelf Pool, an artist and son of the first family with whom she lived. She experiences life as “velvet,” the legacy her father gave her by encouraging her to live life richly whether it brought good or bad.

Dirk “So Big” DeJong

Dirk “So Big” DeJong, nicknamed as a baby, the son of Pervus and Selina DeJong. He is intelligent, charming, and appreciative of those around him. Unlike his mother, however, whose...

(The entire section is 671 words.)